Every month, when we sit down to write our editorials, we can’t help but feel like we are preaching. After all, we’re high school seniors writing about issues that often extend far beyond our experiences and purview. Still, at the core of every editorial is an issue we care deeply about and feel needs to be discussed, so we put our heads together to find a way to express our views. And after having written the editorial for that particular issue, we feel motivated to take action but frustrated by practical limitations.
As such, we think we can understand what it must be like for the administration in its efforts to make Harvard-Westlake a more diverse and inclusive community. Administrators have the diversity report in front of them thoroughly detailing all the things that need to be fixed, but solidifying a plan for action can sometimes out of reach.
Still, gathering information and organizing one’s thoughts are important steps in the path towards improvement. Information can lead to action, no matter how frustrating or difficult the process may feel. So we would like to applaud the administration for taking this step in the right direction and for having the courage to look at itself critically.
If there’s anything our editorials have taught us, however, it’s that just talking about an issue doesn’t really do all that much. Action does. We urge the administration to continue asking itself that crucial question of “What can we do better?” while taking concrete steps toward change. We love it when we get to write headlines about important discussions the administration is having: “School reviews diversity climate assessment” (see A1) or “School considers AP class limit in talks of student well-being, academic balance.” More than that, however, we like writing headlines describing definitive actions the school is taking without words like “considering” or “discussing.”
Our school is one that prides itself on excellence, but excellence comes in many different forms. Currently, it feels like certain forms of excellence are prioritized over others. When we have discussions about improving student well-being, we also feel the need to ensure that these improvements won’t negatively impact our college admissions.
But sometimes, we must make sacrifices for the things that are important to us. We need to make time for discussions about diversity, even if it means missing out on class time. When a video of Brentwood students singing the n-word is leaked, we need more time than just one class meeting to discuss the ways in which that event impacts our community.
While we appreciate the insight provided by the climate assessment report, we think that most of us already knew we had a problem with diversity. Let’s not pat ourselves on the backs just yet for putting into words a problem of which we were already aware. Instead, let’s start acting on the information provided to us while also being proactive and combating potential future issues. Let’s hire a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for next year. Let’s not wait to take action like we have for so many years.
We hope that the administration will not shy away from implementing whatever policies they deem necessary in fear of controversy or backlash. Change is hard, but nothing worth doing is ever easy.